Schools’ test scores reflect trends in state

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Gray-New Gloucester High School 

GRAY — The results of the latest Maine Education Assessments in Lakes Region school districts with a few exceptions largely match statewide trends.

Statewide, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state expectations in English, math and science increased or remained about the same in 2016-17 compared to last school year, according to the Maine Department of Education. 

In the English language arts/literacy content area, average state scores jumped from 50.58 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standard in 2015-16 to 52.58 percent in 2016-17. Statewide math and science numbers each saw a smaller increase – from 38.31 percent to 38.54 percent in math, and from 60.97 percent to 61.07 percent in science.

RSU 14 saw a similar increase in English language arts/literacy, jumping from 53.45 percent of students meeting or exceeding state standards last year to 55.46 percent this year. The Windham-Raymond schools went up in math as well, going from 33.58 percent a year ago to 36.11 percent. The district did see a slight dip in science, dropping from 62.72 percent to 61.76.

Those results put RSU 14 above the state average in English language arts/literacy and science, and slightly below in math.

Windham-Raymond Superintendent Sanford Prince said that the MEA results are one of several ways for the district to evaluate performance. He said that continuing to improve in the math category will be a priority for RSU 14. 

“We could do better in math,” Prince said. “This will be a focus for the district.”

Christine Hesler, RSU 14 director of curriculum instruction and assessment, said this is the first year the MEAs break the math results into sub-sets (such as geometry, algebra, etc.), and will help the district if there’s a particular part of the math curriculum where students are struggling or excelling. 

Gray-New Gloucester schools saw a decrease in its English language arts/literacy results compared to the previous year, but the SAD 15 schools still have the the highest results in that category of the four districts in the region, with 58.44 percent in 2016-17 compared to  62.24 percent in 2015-16).

SAD 15 saw increases in both math and science, from 42.73 percent to 43.36 percent in math, and from 66.58 percent to 68.89 percent in science. and is above the state average in each of the three categories. 

Gray-New Gloucester Superintendent Craig King said that slight changes from year to year don’t bother him. 

“From year to year, there are slight dips and increases in various subject areas,” King said. “The slight variations don’t worry me;  large, significant changes do worry me.  Fortunately, our fluctuations are small.”  

King said that assessment results provide an opportunity to reflect on why some students are preforming really well and why some are preforming below the state average. 

Ultimately, he said that the district wants to “continue to provide quality instruction for all students” and “make sure we have strategies to assist students who have under performed in certain areas.” 

“We are pleased with our results. Our schools continue to perform above state average on a regular basis,” King said. “This is a point of pride for our students, parents and school personnel.” 

SAD 61 saw a significant increase in its English language arts/literacy score, jumping to 48.99 percent from 42.9 percent in 2015-16. The Lake Region school district also saw a slight increase in math from 32.21 to 33.64 percent, but had a very slight dip in science from 60.32 percent to 60.15 percent. The district is currently below the state average of students exceeding or meeting state standards in each of the three categories. 

SAD 6 similarly saw a significant increase in its English language arts/literacy score, going from 43.46 percent to 47.83 percent. In math and science, however, the the district saw slight decreases from 31.79 percent to 31.61 percent in math, and 53.6 percent to 52.81 percent in science. Each of those category results are below the state average for 2016-2017. 

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Gray-New Gloucester High School 

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